Thursday, November 16, 2017

Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker

Paperback Edition
I've had fantasies of writing a novel off and on for years now... But have yet to write or even attempt to write a novel to date. 

Writing a novel seems, well, quite daunting to say the least! I'm an avid reader, but am I able to successfully write a decent novel? How does one even begin going about writing a novel anyway? I scare myself out of trying to write anything before I even start writing my first sentence!

Over the years, I've thought of some great ideas/stories/characters for writing a novel... Or at least I thought the ideas I've had for writing a novel were creative enough to make for interesting reading. But, there is so much more too writing a novel than a so called 'great idea'. Putting all the elements together to write a cohesive novel that is interesting, well written, and something people will want to read has left me from even trying to write a novel at all.

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and tons of people participate in this annual, month long writing event. And although, I am not even close to being prepared to begin writing a novel, I am very inspired by the idea of finding a way to write a novel in the future.

However, I did began looking for books online to help me move forward and think about writing that first novel. I came across Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker on Amazon. Libbie Hawker's book on writing has 450+ reviews on Amazon and also a 4+ star rating. 

After reading what Libbie Hawker's book was all about online, I took the leap and read Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing in three days! I like Ms. Hawker's clear writing style and the outline techniques she lays out for those wishing to write a novel. Ms. Hawker's outline techniques make sense and she gives plenty of examples in her book on how and why the outline works so successfully.

The holiday season is upon us, so I most likely won't even be ready to start writing a novel until the beginning of 2018 at the soonest.

Below is a more information about Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker from Amazon:
When it comes to writing books, are you a "plotter" or a "pantser"? Is one method really better than the other? In this instructional book, author Libbie Hawker explains the benefits and technique of planning a story before you begin to write. She'll show you how to develop a foolproof character arc and plot, how to pace any book for a can't-put-down reading experience, and how to ensure that your stories are complete and satisfying without wasting any time or words. Hawker's outlining technique works no matter what genre you write, and no matter the age of your audience. If you want to improve writing speed, increase your backlist, and ensure a quality book before you even write the first word, this is the how-to book for you. Take off your pants! It's time to start outlining. This revised edition includes answers to the most popular questions regarding Libbie Hawker's outlining process.
I am giving Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

If you are a a writer, which books/writing resources have you found to be helpful in your writing journey?  

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere

I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere on compact disc and narrated by the author. The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere is the 4th novel in the Christmas Hope series.

Listening time for The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere is 4 hours, 22 minutes.

With the Christmas holiday swiftly approaching, I thought it would be wonderful to get into the holiday spirit by listening to a Christmas themed novel by Donna VanLiere. 

The funny part is that I completely forgot that I listened to a Christmas themed novel by Donna VanLiere in 2013 titled, The Christmas Secret!! The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere is the 5th novel the Christmas Hope series. Apparently, I didn't enjoy The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere after rereading my review of it. Had I remembered my experience with The Christmas Secret back in 2013, I would not have listened to The Christmas Promise.

Anyway, onto my review of The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere. I thought that The Christmas Promise was well narrated by the author. The storyline and characters were interesting enough to keep me listening to this novel through to the end. I did laugh in parts at some of the story at some of the funny scenes. 

Overall, I enjoyed The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere even if the storyline was predictable it parts... And yes, I enjoyed this novel better than The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere.

The following is a plot summary for The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere from Audible:
Donna VanLiere's books movingly portray ordinary people reaching for more meaningful lives. In The Christmas Promise, she follows two seemingly separate individuals and shows how their lives intersect.
Chaz McConnell realizes that his life is empty - and that he's made it that way. He goes home every night to a bare apartment. For the first time in his life, he's working at a job that will last more than a few weeks, as security for Wilson's Department Store. Trying to reach out, he befriends four-year-old Donovan, whose mother is part of the janitorial team at Wilson's.
Gloria Bailey finds it easy to care for families in need, but she just can't seem to bridge the gap with her cantankerous neighbor, 60-something widow Miriam Lloyd Davies. When Miriam goes away for a week and a pipe bursts, she comes home to a house under water. Gloria, in an act of kindness, or maybe insanity, invites Miriam to stay at her house until a hotel room becomes available. They eventually realize they have more in common than they ever thought. In this beautiful, deeply poignant novel, we are reminded that the past is never far behind, and all of us are longing for a place to call home. 
Listen to more of Donna VanLiere's Christmas stories.
I am giving The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere a rating 3 out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday -- Top Twelve Books I Want My Future Book Club to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

So, I decided to select books from my massive 'to be read pile' that I still want to read. The following are books I would love to read and discuss with a book club group.

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
3. Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
4. Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie
5. Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
6. A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles
7. The Tea Girl Of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
8. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
9. News Of The World by Paulette Jiles
10. The Twelve Lives Of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti
11. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
12. The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The One Who Got Away edited by Kristina Wright

Erotica Anthology
Yes, on occasion, I do enjoy reading erotica and short story erotica anthologies are a great way to discover new to me authors... So, with that in mind, I chose to read The One Who Got Away edited by Kristina Wright, which is a collection of fourteen erotica short stories written by various authors.

I liked the theme/concept for this collection of erotica short stories of 'the one that got away'... It's what initially attracted me to this erotica anthology.

However, out of the fourteen erotica short stories presented in The One Who Got Away edited by Kristina Wright, I only enjoyed reading five of them... With 'Proof' and 'Danish Affair' being the best of the bunch. The rest of the short stories weren't all that great. 

The following is a plot summary for The One Who Got Away edited by Kristina Wright from Amazon:
We all have... that One, the one who got away. The one we fell for or simply were attracted to, but we never got. That One, but not necessarily The One, at least not the first time around. That One who slips into our fantasies late at night when we’re feeling melancholy or nostalgic. Maybe we took a chance once and it simply didn’t work out. Maybe we never took the chance... and we wish we had. We all have the name of the One Who Got Away tattooed on our heart, always with us, never forgotten. There is something hopelessly romantic about the idea of connecting with a long lost love. This luscious Cleis Press collection of second chance stories celebrates longing and loves that, whether by fate or by design, are at last requited and fulfilled.
I am giving The One Who Got Away edited by Kristina Wright a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Lost Library by Kate Baray

Unabridged Audiobook
I listened to the unabridged audio version of Lost Library by Kate Baray and narrated by Kelsey Osborne. Listening time for Lost Library by Kate Baray is 8 hours, 17 minutes.

Lost Library by Kate Baray is the first novel in a paranormal romance series... So, if paranormal romance novels involving werewolves and magic are your thing, then this may be the novel for you!!

Kate Baray is a new to me author. I thought her writing was good and I enjoyed listening to Lost Library by Kate Baray. Paranormal romances are a fun escape from reality and Lost Library is no exception. The characters in Lost Library are fun and the storyline moves along at a nice pace. Kelsey Osborne is a good narrator.

Although I thought Lost Library by Kate Baray was a good novel, I wasn't wowed by this novel. I will pass on reading or listening to the the rest of this paranormal series.

The following is the plot summary for Lost Library by Kate Baray from Audible:
Lost Library brings together a mysterious, magical book and a quirky heroine to create the adventure of a lifetime!
John Braxton arrives unannounced on Lizzie Smith's doorstep looking for answers she doesn't have. She may have a magical book, but she hasn't a clue what to do with it - or even how to read it. And John's revelation that he's a Lycan isn't making the job any easier. 
Before the code to the book can be cracked, Lizzie and John stumble into the middle of a power-hungry mastermind's plan. Caught up in one man's search for power, Lizzie soon begins to uncover surprising secrets about her past and powers. Can she and John put a stop to their new-found enemy's plans?
Take a romp through the life of the quirky and well-meaning Lizzie as she discovers magic, creatures that go bump in the night, and maybe love.
I am giving Lost Library by Kate Baray a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Amazon Books Storefront in Walnut Creek, California

My Hubby Outside Amazon Books!!
I've been hearing that Amazon has planned to open several bookstores around the USA for a long time now. So, I was excited to learn that one opened in Walnut Creek, California and another one in San Jose, California. Both locations are close to where I live, but the Walnut Creek Amazon storefront is closer to my home.

This past weekend, my husband and I visited the newly opened Amazon brick and mortar bookstore in Walnut Creek, California. We visited Amazon Books out of sheer curiosity to see what an Amazon bookstore would look like in person. Boy, was this bookstore packed with people, their children, and quite a few pet dogs too the day we made our visit!

We enjoyed our experience visiting Amazon Books in Walnut Creek. There was a greeter at the entrance as well as a Peet's Coffee onsite selling beverages and treats to eat and drink during one's visit. 

Plenty of books from nearly every genre are for sale with all the covers facing outward for readers to view easily. There are even tags below each book telling potential buyers how well the book is liked by Amazon readers/reviewers. 

Additionally, other Amazon products like the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Kindle are also for sale at their retail location. 

I enjoyed the size and layout of Amazon Books in Walnut Creek... It's a large bookstore without being overwhelmingly HUGE.

The staff members we encountered during our visit were friendly and helpful.

We weren't initially planning on making a purchase during our visit to the Amazon Books storefront as I already have way too many books that need to be read before buying more of them and my husband isn't an avid reader like me. I seem to acquire books much faster than I can read them... I'm sure other readers have the same problem I do with acquiring books and not being able to read them quickly enough to keep up with purchases. 

At any rate, my plans quickly fell by the wayside when I noticed upon entering Amazon Books that they had autographed copies of John Green's new novel, Turtles All The Way Down, for sale. I want to read this novel, so I decided to purchase John Green's new novel. 

Checkout was fast and easy at the Amazon Books cash wrap... Plus, we were able to purchase the latest John Green novel for the discounted price as seen on Amazon's website (40% off the cover price), which was awesome!

As cool as it was to visit a brick and mortar Amazon Books storefront, I think I'll be skipping on a return visit to their physical bookstore in the future. 

My husband and I already have an Amazon Prime Membership and we find it much more convenient to shop on Amazon's website day or night in the comfort of our own home. And with our Amazon Prime Membership, we receive free 2 day shipping regardless of the dollar amount spent... Because of these factors, it is less appealing to shop Amazon's physical storefront in my opinion, especially when we purchase more than books from Amazon. In fact, I tend to purchase/acquire books from many sources aside from Amazon (Indie Bookstores, Used Bookstores, FOL Used Bookstores, Little Free Libraries and Bookcrossers, Netgalley, InKitt, Goodreads Giveaways, etc.)

So, have you had the opportunity to visit an Amazon Books storefront? What was your experience like during your visit?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Little Free Library In Walnut Creek, California

Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I visited a new to us Little Free Library in Walnut Creek, California!! It was a very cute Little Free Libray in a very quaint neighborhood in Walnut Creek.

I left three books at this particular Little Free Library and nabbed a hardback edition of The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead... The edition of The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead the I acquired from the Little Free Library has major coffee stains on it though, lol!! Not that I mind though as it was FREE!!

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead has been on my reading wishlist for quite awhile now, so I am happy to have a copy to enjoy reading.

Friday, November 3, 2017

50/50 Friday -- Best/Worst Book Read in October

50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reads and Laura @ Blue Eye Books. This fun themed meme focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc). Every week a new topic will give bloggers the chance to showcase their answers.

This weeks topic is your  Best/Worst Book Read in October 2017!

My Worst Book Read in October 2017

(Click above link to read my review.) 

My Best Book Read in October 2017

(Click above link to read my review.) 

So, which books were your best and worst reads
in October 2017?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Pie To Vie For by Kathryn Lin

A Pie To Vie For by Kathryn Lin is a digital cozy mystery short story approximately 33 pages in length.

I was able to download A Pie To Vie For by Kathryn Lin for FREE to my Kindle.

Below is my honest and unbiased review of A Pie To Vie For by Kathryn Lin.

I enjoyed reading A Pie To Vie For by Kathryn Lin. It's a fun, quick mystery with a female amateur sleuth that doesn't involve murder! If you love baking and cozy mysteries, then this short story may be the perfect fit for you.

The following is a plot summary for A Pie To Vie For by Kathryn Lin from Amazon:
This is a short story that can be read as a stand-alone or as a prologue to the Olivia Faulkner Mysteries series. It is shorter than the rest of the books in the series which are all full length novels.
Olivia planned on a summer road trip across the country, but she ends up stuck in her childhood home in Grand Arbor Township when her camper van breaks down. Good thing there's a $1000 grand prize in this year's Grand Arbor Cherry Festival Pie Baking Contest... The problem is--somebody is determined to make sure nobody wins.
Can Olivia find out who's sabotaging the contest or will this year be the last cherry festival in Grand Arbor?
I am giving A Pie To Vie For by Kathryn Lin a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!